Being too close to the problem 

A couple of weeks ago, I had to go into work on the weekend. I took out my key to the front door and tried to open it.  It wouldn’t even turn.  Hmm.  Wrong key?  It had been over a year since the last time I had gone into work after hours and used the key…  I went through all the keys on my key chain even ones that I knew were for my home.

Nothing worked.  I couldn’t get in the front door.

Fortunately, I knew that the back entrance was open and I could get in that way.  It would mean crossing through the plant floor and getting into the office from the plant.  It would also mean setting off the alarm because the alarm panel to the office is at the front.

I retried the keys.  What the heck?  How could they change the locks and not tell me?  The reason I was coming in was because a technician was coming in to do some work that could only be done after hours.  Not only was this a bit inconvenient, it was embarrassing.  I would have to take this guy on a long circuitous route and then set off the alarm and have to turn it off.

Oh well.  It was the only way to get in.  Boy, would my supervisor hear about it later!  (He was watching Avengers Endgame and was unavailable until the movie was over.)

We walked all the way to the back entrance.  We walked all the way back through the plant floor.  I entered into the office from the plant and set off the alarm.  I went to turn off the alarm and checked my phone for my code.  I was too clever and put the code in a “code”.  That I couldn’t remember!

I made a frantic call to call to a co-worker for help to disable the alarm.  Once the alarm was disabled, I complained about the key to the front door which was the root cause of all my problems.

My co-worker asked “What key?  The doors are all card coded now.”

Card coded?  You mean I just had to flash my key card and I would have been able to get in?

I stepped outside to confirm.  Sure enough, there was a key pad to swipe your card.  The only thing was that instead of the reader being located to the right of the door (right by the handle), like most of the key card readers in the building, this was on the left side of the door.

It wasn’t where I would expect it to be.  And since I was focused on the key and the lock, I didn’t even consider a key card.  I didn’t look for it.  I didn’t “see” it.   I decided the problem was the key and fumed about my “problem”.

If I had stepped back and looked at the whole door, I might have noticed the key card reader on the other side.  But I was like a fly banging against a closed window.  Let me keep trying the keys even though they don’t work.

It was a good reminder that when confronted with a problem, step back, take a breath and try to see the whole picture.


© 2019 Peter Gruner

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